2020 was the Year of the Trench for me (all dug by hand, good training for digging more trenches)! I completed digging a 40m long trench along the “driveway”. 30 years after I planted many trees and bushes along the driveway, some of the trees – ash, elm, lime, beech and birch in particular – had become quite large and my annual vegetable beds were full of roots. I also dug about 60m of trench around my cultivated areas at the Væres Venner Community Garden, this time to keep couch grass (kveke) from reinvading. There’s a steady stream of runners along the path next to the community garden. I really must get round to putting up that sign: “Too much energy? Please come and help”!
I’m writing this on 20th January at 11 am and in an hour from now the temperature will rise above 0C for the first time this year, in stark contrast to December when there was no significant frost until the last few hours before New Year. Unusually, I could do whatever gardening and planting I wanted to throughout December as my daily exercise in between writing. As my garden is on shallow soil and I want both to grow food and have trees around me, it is difficult to get the balance between the two. My solution has been to dig narrow trenches down to the bedrock to physically stop tree roots invading the cultivated areas and robbing water and nutrients. I cleared out some of the older trenches (they are actually useful for trapping autumn leaves which I use for various purposes):
I also dug a new trench along a bed next to the south side of the house where my oldest Hablitzia tamnoides is, filling in again with large stones and using the good soil in creating a new bed for perennial woodlanders on what used to be the “lawn” and also for filling my one and only a raised bed.
Here the trench is has been infilled with stones and the edging stones have been replaced. I also cover this bed with leaves and jute sacking as there are a few less winter hardy edibles here and there are also a number of pots underneath too.
I also use this bed along the south side of the house for storing pots with plants that haven’t found a permanent place yet or are on their way to the community garden.
…and finally, I always cover the sea kale (Crambe maritima) bed with leaves and jute: